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Cyclone Ockhi: Mumbai receives highest December rainfall since 1967

As Mumbai braced for Cyclone Ockhi on Tuesday, the city received highest-ever December rainfall, breaking a record of 50 years. In 24 hours from 8:30 am on Tuesday, Colaba observatory in the city witnessed a whopping 82 mm of rainfall while Santa Cruz recorded massive 54 mm of rainfall. According to Skymet Weather, the monthly rains in Mumbai for the month of December stands at 5.3 mm and the highest monthly record stood at 55.7 mm which took place in the year 1967.The heavy rainfall in the city was caused due to Cyclone Ockhi which had developed in the Bay of Bengal but moved towards Arabian Sea. The system had intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missingThe cyclone passed the Mumbai coast and just brought rains and there was no loss of life or damage to property. The cyclone on Tuesday night was headed towards Gujarat but gradually dissipated over the Arabian Sea before hitting the coast.As many as 39 people have perished and 167 fishermen were still missing after cyclone hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra, the Union Home Ministry said on Tuesday.
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Cyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missing

As many as 39 people have perished and 167 fishermen were still missing after cyclone Ockhi hit Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts while 809 others were swept away to Maharashtra, the Union Home Ministry said today.Joint Secretary in the ministry Sanjeev Kumar Jindal also said the cyclone is slowing down and would have no impact in Gujarat, where the first of the two-phased assembly elections is due four days later.”As of now, 10 people lost their lives in Tamil Nadu and 29 others in Kerala. Even though the exact number of missing persons were not known, as per available information, whereabouts of 74 fishermen in Tamil Nadu and 93 fishermen in Kerala is not known yet,” he told reporters here.A total of 556 fishermen were also rescued by relief and rescue teams from seas.The state governments are verifying with the affected villages to find the exact number of missing fishermen.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Schools in Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra to remain open on Wednesday Altogether 809 fishermen with their boats from Tamil Nadu and Kerala were swept away and reached Maharashtra coast where they were provided food and shelter.While 33 tourists, both domestic and foreign, were safe in Lakshadweep, 250 fishermen could also reach safely in the islands from the high seas after being hit by the cyclone.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Search intensified to find 92 missing fishermenJindal said two merchant ships with eight sailors each were rescued and brought to Lakshadweep by Navy and Coast guard teams.Asked whether the cyclone would affect the election process in Gujarat, Jindal said there was no such possibilities as it has already slowed down.Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) today asked fishermen in both eastern and western coasts not to venture out in the sea for the next three days as heavy rainfall is expected in many areas due to cyclone Ockhi.Asking people not to panic in case of a cyclone alert, the NDMA said in an advisory that fishermen along and off Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu coasts should not venture into the sea from December 6 to 8 while fishermen along and off Andaman and Nicobar Islands are advised not to venture into sea till tomorrow.Fishermen living along and off South Gujarat and North Maharashtra coasts have been advised not to venture into the sea till tomorrow morning.The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi will move over east- central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea at latitude 17.5 N and Longitude 70.4 E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.The NDMA said light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall also likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts.It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by tonight.Minor damage to loose unsecured structures and minor damage to banana trees, agriculture near coast due to salt spray is expected. Damage to ripe paddy crops and minor damage to ‘kutcha’ embankments are expected.The NDMA predicted formation of a depression over southeast Bay of Bengal during the next few hours and it will further intensify into a deep depression during subsequent two days.The well marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman sea persists.It is very likely to move west-northwestwards towards north Tamil Nadu, south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next three days.The NDMA said people when asked to evacuate, should move to a designate cyclone shelter with safety kit and store dry food and water in abundance, keep torch and hurricane lantern/emergency light handy and keep listening to battery operated radio for latest information.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Dozens of fishermen missing in Indian storm

India’s coast guard says more than 100 fishermen went missing and 71 have been rescued so far.

ISRO satellite imageries to monitor suspicious vessels and boats venturing into seas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> ISRO satellite imageries will soon monitor suspicious vessels and boats venturing into seas as part of the fortification of the country’s coastal security, the home ministry said on Friday. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will provide 1,000 transponders by March next year as part of the coastal security ring, being set up to thwart terrorist attacks on the lines of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage. For boats under 20 metres, satellite monitoring has been proposed, a senior home ministry official said. India has strengthened the coastal security after the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai which claimed 166 lives. Ten terrorists reached the metropolis from Pakistan sailing through the Arabian sea.So far, 19.74 lakh fishermen have enrolled for biometric identity cards and of whom, 18.60 lakhs have been issued identity cards. For monitoring of boats, automatic identification system would be installed in all boats above 20 metres, while colour coding of boats was being undertaken by coastal states and Union Territories for easier monitoring in the high seas and on the International Maritime Boundary Line, the official said. India has a coastline of 7,516 km running through Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Standard operating procedures (SOPs) were developed for dealing with the breach of the International Maritime Boundary Line and SOPs were issued for upgrading security in non-major ports and single point mooring facilities, another official said. The SOPs were issued to coastal states and Union Territories for better coordination among stakeholders, coastal mapping started in states for entering terrain details, coastal and local police stations, bomb disposal facilities, ports railway stations, bus stands, fishing villages and fish landing points, the official said.Security of the coastline is vital for the country as there are nuclear stations, missile launching centres, defence and oil installations along the coast. India’s long coastline presents a variety of security concerns that include landing of arms and explosives at isolated spots on the coast, infiltration/ex-filtration of anti-national elements, use of the sea and off-shore islands for criminal activities, smuggling of consumer and intermediate goods through sea, the official said.Absence of physical barriers and the presence of vital industrial and defence installations also enhance the vulnerability of the coasts to illegal cross-border activities, the official said.

Rains returns to Mumbai, likely to remain cloudy for three days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as several parts of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and adjoining areas woke up surprised to find- slight to heavy drizzle, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said that it was a result of two weather systems and the weather was likely to remain cloudy and there were chances of isolated rains.KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed that the prevalent weather was due to two weather systems. “There is a cyclonic circulation over north Karnataka and there is also a trough of low mean sea level running from Maldives area to southeast Arabian Sea off north Karnataka coast, which we forecasted will cause isolated rains in Konkan, Goa and Madhya Maharashtra and few other areas till November 22,” he said adding that on Monday there were rains reported from various parts of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Ambernath and even Pune.According to IMD officials, Mumbai is likely to experience drizzle and cloudy weather on Monday as per forecast while various other parts of Maharashtra will see such rains and cloudy weather for next three days.Speaking about minimum temperatures dropping in Mumbai to 18.5 degree Celsius on Sunday, Hosalikar said that winter has not set in Mumbai and there are chances that the minimum temperature will see a rise.Meanwhile, social media was flooded with posts about early morning rains some questioning sudden rains and posting videos and pictures from their area.

October rains play spoilsport in floatel reopening

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The October showers that the city witnessed, did not only affect Diwali shopping and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) road repair works, but it has also delayed the reopening of the city’s first floating hotel, popularly known as floatel, post-monsoon by almost a month.The floatel, anchored off the Arabian Sea near Bandra-Worli Sea Link, was shut owing to monsoons starting June, and was to be reopened in the last week of September. However, due to climatic conditions, it was pushed by a month to October 27.Satish Soni, Joint Managing Director of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), confirmed that the re-opening of the floatel was delayed.Chetan Bhende, Managing Director, WB International Consultants, told DNA, “According to our earlier plans, we were to reopen in the last week of September but due rainfall we couldn’t. Considering the boat is an open-to-sky deck the furniture can get wet in case of rainfall. We didn’t take a chance and are now going to reopen on October 27.”Bhende added, “So far we have got a good response and are getting a decent footfall every day.”The floatel was inaugurated earlier this year by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and is a joint venture (JV) between the MTDC, AB Hospitality and WB International Consultants. However, the state has not made any investment for the JV but 11% out of the total profit is shared with MTDC, as per the contract between the two.Normally September 30, is said to the official date for withdrawal of monsoon in and around Mumbai, but this year rainfall prolonged till mid October.Initially, there were plans to have the floatel anchored near Nariman Point, but the city collector along with the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) denied the same citing certain concerns.STATE-OF-THE-ARTManufactured in the US, the floatel hosts three restaurants, a sky deck along with two multinational cuisine restaurants and including a club lounge equipped with a coffee shop. The floatel, which is a first in the state, can host around 700 guests at a time.

PM Modi says hostile UPA halted Gujarat growth, defends note ban, GST

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi blasted the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre on Sunday and said that it blocked Gujarat’s development and showed hostility towards him when he was the state Chief Minister.He defended demonetization and GST and assured that India’s economy was on the right track, while opening projects — including an ambitious ferry service — and laying foundations for several schemes in Gujarat where elections are due in December.He further attacked the Congress and said “people who have won elections thanks to recounting” are questioning the ability of the Election Commission, in a reference to Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s recent victory in Rajya Sabha elections. The Commission has not announced the poll dates for Gujarat for now, saying the model code of conduct would disrupt relief operations for flood victims.”When I was serving as CM, I faced hostility from the then central government. Efforts were made to stall industries and the state’s growth. Over the last three years, we have changed that and given importance to the development of Gujarat,” the PM said.He was addressing a gathering in Bhavnagar after inaugurating the Rs 650-crore roll-on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ferry service in the Gulf of Khambhat of the Arabian Sea that would reduce travel time between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district in western Gujarat’s Saurashtra region and Dahej in Bharuch district in south Gujarat from seven hours to one hour.The PM’s “dream project” will cut the distance between the two places to 31 km from 360 km. The ferry service was first planned in the early 1960s.The foundation stone was laid by Modi when he was CM in 2012.”It is a landmark project not only for India but also for the entire South-East Asia. It is a dream come true for the people of Gujarat,” the PM said. He said the ferry was like amrit bestowed upon the people of Gujarat as a blessing from god of oceans Varuna. “We are planning to link other places,” he said, noting that plans were afoot to expand the service to Surat’s Hazira, Union Territory Diu-Daman and various places in Saurashtra. The second phase will ferry vehicles, and even cruise boats will be made available later on. PM Modi has made multiple visits to his poll-bound home state in recent months to make scathing attacks on the Congress, desperate to return to power after 22 years.”Gujarat is blessed with a long coastline and we should harness opportunities. We have taken steps in developing coastal infrastructure. Sadly, our transport sector was not integrated enough. We have changed that in the last three years. The goal is to make our transport sector integrated and state of the art.”Modi announced new schemes and dedicated projects worth Rs 1,140 crore to the public. He later travelled on the ferry to Dahej with many differently-abled children he called his “special guests”. “Our vision is P for P (ports for prosperity). India needs better ports and more ports,” he said. He said the Sagar Mala project alone will provide around 1 crore jobs. It is a strategic and customer-oriented initiative of the Centre to modernise India’s ports.”Our focus is on the blue economy. We see the blue economy as integral to our vision of a new India. Without proper connectivity, the economic development of a nation slows down. Keeping this in mind we are focussing on ports infrastructure.”In Vadodara, the PM again said that Gujarat suffered neglect at the hands of the Congress-led government at the Centre, and it is a time the state recovered its dues. Modi returned from Delhi to his home state in 2001 to become CM, a post he held till he swept the general elections in 2014.He also lashed out at the Opposition’s campaign which seeks to make a mockery of the claims of development by the BJP government. He said that it is beyond the means of the Opposition to think big on development.”Since I was a child I had been hearing about a ferry service from Ghogha to Dahej. It was not done all these years because development was never a priority for them. When we got a chance to serve we focussed on all-round development and the ferry is operational today,” he said.”If you scan the newspapers before May 2014 you will see continuous mentions about the record corruption in various sectors. We are clear in our working. All our resources will be spent towards the well being of every citizen. Our priority is development,” he said. The scale of development works being inaugurated in Vadodara is unprecedented, he said.

Bengaluru records highest rainfall in 115 years; death toll rises

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengaluru has recorded highest rainfall in at least 115 years, according to Indian Meteorological Department on Sunday.The annual rainfall for the city is 1615.2mm as on Saturday morning is the highest record ever that surpassed the earlier record of 1606.8 mm in 2005.The incessant rainfall for the past two months in Bengaluru shows that the city is somewhat facing unique weather condition where the south-west monsoon has extended and the north-east monsoon is about to arrive, a senior official at the IMD said.”The combination of the weather system coupled by low pressure situation created in the Arabian Sea is resulting in showers over interior Karnataka and Bengaluru falls in this region,” he said.”One has to analyse the possible relation to climate change as extreme weather events are related to it. Bengaluru is a growing city and has been experiencing heat island effect which further results in rainfall after a prolonged harsh summer or dry run,” he added.Heavy rains in the city have caused severe waterlogging and traffic jams on the road. Around 19 deaths have occurred in the past 15 days due to potholes and the heavy showers. A 16-year-old girl was drowned in an overflowing rain on Sunday at Krishnappa Garden.In another incident, a mother and her daughter were washed away in a nearby drain in Kurubrahalli.

BMC’s STP plan rots as ministries spar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) plan, worth Rs 6,000 crore, to set up sewage treatment plants (STPs) has been stuck for the past two years with the ministries of urban development and environment and forests, as they spar over fixing the discharge standard for treated sewage. This, despite repeated pleas by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BMC for an early decision.BMC proposed to set up, in phases, five such STPs of 300 to 500 million litre per day (MLD) capacity at Ghatkopar, Dharavi, Malad, Versova and Bandra. The civic body, which has estimated a cost of Rs 2 to 3 crore per MLD, hopes to use the treated water for non-potable purposes. Civic chief Ajoy Mehta told DNA,”BMC is ready to float tenders the minute discharge standards are fixed.” A state urban development officer confirmed that BMC is unable to kickstart its plan as the ministries are yet to come to a unanimous decision.Mumbai needs 3,500 MLD of drinking water while 2,700 MLD is sewage which is released into the Arabian Sea — most of it untreated, threatening marine life and the coast.The ministry of environment and forests has consistently held that the level of biological oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solid (SS) in the treated water should be 10 mg per litre each. However, the ministry of urban development is suggesting a relaxed discharge standard, and separate standards for treated sewage that is released in the deep sea, and that which is released in internal water bodies.BMC’S PLANBMC was to set up, in phases, five such STPs of 300 to 500 million litre per day capacity at Ghatkopar, Dharavi, Malad, Versova and Bandra
The civic body estimated a cost of Rs 2 to 3 crore per MLD

State asks IIT-B to conduct a third- party audit for Shivaji statue project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what will make plans for the world’s tallest statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea closer to fruition, the state government has asked the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Bombay) to conduct a third-party audit of the lowest bid for the project.A senior public works department (PWD) official said the IIT-B would “proof check” the lowest bid submitted for the project. “This is part of the procedure. The report is expected to be submitted this month after which the bid may be placed before the high-power committee headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for approval,” he added.The official admitted that while they expected work to be launched by October, they would try and commission it by the year-end.Three infrastructure majors had bid for construction of the memorial and statue of the warrior-king. Though the state expected the first phase to cost Rs 2,300 crore, Afcons and L&T had quoted Rs 4,779 crore and Rs 3,826 crore respectively.Reliance Infrastructure lost in the technical evaluation. Officials admitted to a huge discrepancy between their estimates and the actual bids received.

Mumbai: Heavy rains overnight sees a 5 degree drop in temperature

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After facing sweltering heat and humidity for the past couple of days, Mumbaikars woke up on Wednesday to not only thunders and heavy rains but also saw the day temperatures in the city dropping by almost five degrees.As per officials from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the city witnessed a massive rainfall between 3 am and 5 am. “Santacruz recorded 103mm of rainfall while Colaba recorded 59mm of rains,” said the official adding that these weather conditions left the city weather pleasant.On Tuesday, the maximum temperature at Santacruz was recorded as 35.9 degree Celsius, but Wednesday the mercury dipped by 5.2 degree Celsius as the maximum temperature was recorded 30.7 degree Celsius. Similarly, Colaba on Tuesday recorded a temperature of 33.5 degree Celsius, which reduced to 29.8 degree Celsius on Wednesday.As per Skymet Weather portal, these weather conditions have been attributed to the presence of a trough which is extending from the North Madhya Maharashtra region to Southeast Arabian Sea across Konkan and Goa in proximity of Mumbai more rains are likely to be expected in the city.Senior IMD officials said that Mumbaikars needs not worry as monsoon is still very much.

50 Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 50 Indian fishermen were arrested on Tuesday by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the country’s territorial waters.The Indian fishermen were on board 12 trawlers. They have been accused of indulging in bottom trawling which is outlawed in Sri Lanka, Naval spokesman Commander Chaminda Walakuluge said.They were escorted to the fisheries harbour in Karainagar in Jaffna. The fishermen would be handed over to the fisheries inspection office in Jaffna for further action, the Navy added.Fishermen from both countries are arrested frequently by the maritime security agencies of both countries for illegal fishing and often stray into illegal waters due to absence of any proper technology to confirm the coastline border between Pakistan and India near Sir Creek in the Arabian Sea.

Loan waiver scheme of Maha govt is ‘misleading’: Vikhe Patil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil today said the loan waiver scheme announced by the Maharashtra government was “misleading”. “The state government is buying time,” the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly told reporters here on eve of the Monsoon session. “The government had said it would issue the forms for farmers who wish to join loan waiver scheme. If the state had already announced figures of outstanding loan, why is it again compiling the same information. All the banks have the information about the outstanding loan and the state has to just waive it,” Vikhe Patil said. According to him, the government has given the name of “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to the loan waiver scheme, to pacify the people’s rage against it”. “The state government first delayed in announcing the scheme,” he claimed. Vikhe Patil also said the “state government continues to misled people in the name of memorials”. “We want to know what is the status of memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar coming up at Indu Mill and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s statue in the Arabian Sea,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Gujarat: Fisherman’s wife seeks govt’s help to get his body from Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 30-year-old woman from a village in Gujarat has sought help from External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, to bring back the body of her husband, who she claimed has died at a jail in Pakistan.Jivuben Chauhan, a resident of Paldi village in Una tehsil of Gir Somnath district, wrote a letter in this connection to Swaraj on Tuesday.The woman said in her letter that her husband Kana Laxman Chauhan (37) and the later’s brother-in-law, Kana Govind, both fishermen, were arrested near the port of Jakhau in Kutch district some months back by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency for allegedly violating the country’s water territorial boundary in the Arabian Sea.The woman, who has three daughters and two sons, told on wednesday that she recently received a letter from Govind in which he wrote that her husband suddenly died in the Pakistani prison on July 5. She said her husband and Govind were lodged in the same jail in Pakistan.The woman said Govind sent his letter through another fisherman from Gir Somnath district who was also earlier arrested by Pakistani authorities but released on July 9.The released fisherman visited her house on July 12 and handed her Govind’s letter informing about her husband’s demise, the woman said.After getting the information, Chauhan wrote to Swaraj, saying she has till date not received any communication from the External Affairs Ministry or the Indian High Commission’s office in Islamabad about her husband’s death.”Due to this reason, I seek your help for doing the needful in the matter,” Chauhan said in her letter to Swaraj.”I along with my five children and my mother-in-law have been living in a rented premises in the village. I have been working as a labourer at a site to earn our livelihood since the arrest of my husband several months ago,” she said.In the letter, the woman also requested Swaraj for a probe into the sudden death of her husband in the jail, as she claimed that he had never written to her about suffering from any disease while being lodged there.Rajya Sabha MP, Parimal Nathwani, who belongs to Dwarka in Gir Somnath district, said has written to the external affairs minister to take up with her Pakistani counterpart, the issue of expediting the process of bringing home the body of the fisherman so as to enable the deceased’s family to perform his last rites.Gujarat Fishermen Association’s senior vice president, Veljibhai Masani, said he has also written a letter to Swaraj to help in bringing back the fisherman’s body.

2 inch rain in 3 hrs brings traffic to a halt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amdavadis woke up to very heavy rainfall on Tuesday morning. The intensity of the downpour was such that two inch of rainfall was recorded in city in three hours leading to waterlogging and traffic jam in several areas. Major waterlogging was reported at 163 places, while 16 trees were uprooted. Mithakhali underpass was closed for traffic movement for an hour. Major cave-ins were reported at two places. The engineering department of AMC demolished six rickety buildings which were found to be unsafe. East zone of the city received 70.50mm, west zone 48.26mm, new west zone 77.51mm, central zone 58.50mm, north zone 14.17mm and south zone received 28mm of rainfall.From 7.30 am to 10.30 am, city received 49.49mm rain. Meanwhile heavy rains lashed Thaltej, Memnagar, Bodakdev, Bopal, Nikol, Hatkeshwar, Maninagar, Vasna and Paldi.According to weatherman, heavy rains will continue in some parts of the city. The Met department said the reason for heavy rains in some parts of Gujarat can be attributed to the cyclonic circulation over Kutch and adjoining Rajasthan. Moreover, a depression has formed over South Odisha and North Andhra coast, which is pulling in moist winds from the Arabian Sea. It is the reason monsoon is vigorous over Saurashtra and Kutch region and the adjoining west coast. There is a possibility that heavy rains will continue over many parts of Gujarat for the next 24 hours. Relief for two days can be anticipated but from Saturday, heavy rains are expected across the state.Meanwhile, rains have led to a flood-like situation in several areas, especially Valsad. As many as 115 animals died in Kutch and Jamnagar districts. Two hundred nine roads including five highways across the state were closed for traffic for a few hours on Tuesday.

Maha govt may re-bid Shivaji statue in lieu of probable cost hike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Faced with massive cost overruns in the construction of a memorial for Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea, the state government may re-bid the project in packages. Instead of bidding out the entire project at one go, it may be split into smaller works like reclamation, construction of the equestrian statue and pedestal, jetties, and tourism infrastructure in an attempt to ensure lower costs.The state government plans to launch work on the statue and memorial after the monsoons. It wants the statue to be the world’s tallest by raising it to a staggering height of 210 metres as against the proposed 192 metres. This may, however, spike costs from the present estimate of Rs 3,700 crore for the two phases.Though the state expected the first phase of the project to cost Rs 2,300 crore, Afcons and L&T had quoted Rs 4,779 crore and Rs 3,826 crore, respectively. MLC Vinayak Mete, who heads the committee implementing the project, admitted that the bids had surpassed their estimates.”We have asked our officials and consultants to examine the huge discrepancy in the estimates and the actual bids… if this price rise is justified, we will negotiate with the lowest bidder. Else, we will have to go in for re-tendering, wherein instead of one composite tender, around three to four tenders for individual works will be floated,” said Mete. He added that this could push down costs and ensure faster completion of the project and said, “We hope to complete this process by October and launch work after the rains.”The Shivaji Maharaj statue, which has a 36-month completion period, will come up on a 15.96-hectare rocky basalt outcrop in the Arabian Sea, 1.2 km southwest of Raj Bhawan. The statue will be made of a bronze alloy to withstand the saline marine environment, corrosion, and wind pressure.Critics are apprehensive about whether these funds could be put to better use.

Baby born on Jet Airways flight, gets a lifetime pass on all travels by airline

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Jet Airways plane flying from Saudi Arabia to India had an unexpected guest today when a baby was born mid-flight.Jet Airways 9W 569 took off from Dammam for Kochi at 2.55 am today and when an expectant mother travelling onboard went into labour the crew declared a medical emergency and diverted the flight to Mumbai.While the plane was still over the Arabian Sea she was helped by crew members and a nurse travelling to Kerala to deliver a baby.The plane landed in Mumbai and both the mother and the newborn were rushed to a hospital.The plane then resumed its onward journey to Kochi and reached its destination at 12.45 pm after a delay of 90 minutes.Later, Jet announced that the baby would offer a free lifetime pass for all the baby’s travels on Jet Airways.

PM inaugurates Kochi Metro, hails its multiple features

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the first phase of Kochi Metro to the nation, took a brief ride in it and hailed its “several significant features”, especially employment to transgenders and women. Addressing the gathering after dedicating the project, he stressed the need to bring about a “paradigm shift” in urban planning by adopting a people-centric approach and integrating land use and transport. He described as “noteworthy” the selection of nearly 1,000 women and 23 transgenders to work in the Kochi Metro Rail System. “…Futuristic infrastructure that will contribute to India’s growth,” the prime minister tweeted shortly after a ride in the Metro with dignitaries including Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan. Union Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gouba, Kerala Chief Secretary Nalini Netto and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan also travelled with the prime minister. Modi, in his address said his government has placed special focus on overall infrastructural development of the nation. “In Pragati meetings, I have personally reviewed nearly 175 projects worth more than Rs 8 lakh crore and resolved bottlenecks,” he said, referring to his ambitious multi-purpose and multi-modal platform PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation). Modi said his government was also focussing on “next generation infrastructure which includes logistics, digital and gas.” The prime minister, who began his speech in Malayalam, said he was happy to be part of the inauguration of the project. He said Kochi was selected as a Smart City in January 2016. “I hope it will do even better in the days to come,” he said. Kochi, the queen of the Arabian Sea, was once an important spice trading centre. Today it is known as the commercial capital of Kerala, the prime minister said. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is a 50-50 joint venture of the Centre and the state government. The Centre has so far released over Rs 2,000 crore for the project. The coaches reflected ‘Make in India’ vision. They have been built by Alstom near Chennai and have an Indian component of around 70 per cent, he said. Modi, who cut the ribbon at the Palarivattom station, shook hands with Vijayan and Sreedharan before proceeding to board the metro train. During the journey, Modi waved at the crowd as Sreedharan and Kochi Metro Rail Ltd Managing Director Elias George interacted with him. Considered as the fastest completed metro project in the country, Kochi Metro, the flagship transportation infrastructure project of Kerala, will start its regular operations from June 19. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation of the project on September 13, 2012 and the construction began in June, 2013 during the tenure of the previous Congress-led UDF government headed by Oommen Chandy, who was conspicuous by his absence today. The estimated completion cost of the Kochi Metro is Rs 5,181.79 crore. The new transport system is expected to enhance the quality of life for the Greater Kochi metro area by improving regional connectivity and reducing overcrowding and traffic congestion.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Southwest Monsoon arrives in city

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The wait is finally over as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) announced on Monday that the Southwest Monsoon has reached Mumbai. In fact, while in 2016 there was a delay of 10 days from the normal date of arrival on June 10, this year the delay is just of two days.IMD officials confirmed that the monsoon had not only arrived in Mumbai, but also parts of Gujarat. “Southwest Monsoon on Monday has advanced into remaining parts of Central Arabian sea, Konkan, North interior Karnataka, Rayalaseema, some parts of north Arabian sea and Gujarat region as well as parts of Madhya Maharashtra and some parts of Marathwada,” said an IMD official.The Regional IMD Mumbai has predicted moderate to heavy rainfall in Mumbai city as well as suburbs for the next 24 hours. On Monday the maximum temperature recorded at Colaba was 31.0 degree Celsius while that at Santacruz was 31.9 degree Celsius and rainfall till 5.30pm was Nil.However, IMD officials claimed that rainfall so far had been good. “From June 1, Colaba has recorded 188 mm rainfall while Santacruz has recorded 151 mm of rains and both are above normal.”Meanwhile like every monsoons several citizens have created special groups on social media to keep a watch on the flooding and other issues like traffic jams across Mumbai to help with information and help.

Will raise money for the farmers from any source possible: Sudhir Mungantiwar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the fact that the BJP came to power in Maharashtra by pointing fingers at the state’s empty coffers, blaming it on the populist measures of the Congress and NCP, the government has been treading the same path since it asumed power.The latest example of that would be the decision to waiver the farmers’ loans, which could cost the state exchequer atleast a whopping Rs 30,000 crore. Prior to this decision, the government, headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, had announced many ambitious projects to fulfil the promises made during the election campaign. These projects and the multi-billion infrastructure projects are testimony to the fact that the BJP-led government has been doing nothing to validate the Democratic Front slamming that had engaged in.However, Chandrakant Patil, a senior minister in Fadnavis’ cabinet, who heads the PWD Department, refused to term these projects as populist measures. Claiming the initiatives to be an imperative, he said it was the state’s ‘duty’ to take steps in this direction to fulfil their election promises.When asked about the Indu Mill and Arabian Sea memorials, Patil said that these are a symbol of the aspirations of the people and both of them are the best in the world and one cannot/ shouldn’t think of money then.Commenting on the burden of the loan waiver on the state treasury, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Finance Minister, said, “You can’t term it a burden, since it is the farmers who feed the entire country. It is the duty of the government to provide relief to farmers, especially when they have been hit by an agrarian crisis, which is as result of the doings of the previous government. We will raise money from any source possible; won’t let the farmers down.”The CM has said that the state treasury has always been open for the farmers, and the government wouldn’t hesitate to go an extra mile to bring the needy farmers back in the credit net.

Shivaji statue in Arabian sea not a political stunt:Maha to HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justifying its decision to construct a 192-metre high statue of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji in the Arabian Sea, the Maharashtra government today told the Bombay High Court that it would be an asset and was not a political stunt. The government today filed an affidavit before a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N M Jamdar in response to a PIL challenging the proposed Shivaji memorial to be built at a cost of Rs 3,600 crore. “The government denies that decision to construct the memorial is a political stunt by the ruling party. It has been the government’s endeavour to dedicate memorials to people who have contributed so much for the state of Maharashtra in the past,” the affidavit filed by Sachin Chivate, deputy secretary, state Public Works Department, said. “I say that the expenses of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial statue is a capital expenditure and is an asset to the state government,” it said. It added that the cost of the construction of the statue will not affect the sanctioned revenue expenditure of the state government. “The total sanctioned capital expenditure in the year 2017-18 is Rs 35,504 crore. Therefore it is possible to make provision for Rs 3,600 crore over a span of three years for the statue,” the affidavit said. It also said the government was taking all steps to protect and restore existing monuments and forts in the state and budgetary allocations are made every year for the same. The PIL filed by city resident Mohan Bhide claimed that the government’s decision to spend Rs 3,600 crore on such a project is “illogical and uncalled for.” Bhide’s lawyer Ketan Parekh said the government should spend money towards other important issues first. The petition has sought the high court to “scrap, cancel, set aside and quash the project.” The HC is likely to take up the petition for further hearing after two weeks.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Work allocation for sea memorial in 10 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state government will decide on allocating work on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial in the Arabian Sea in around 10 days. Work on the statue, which will be the world’s tallest, is expected to start in October.MLC Vinayak Mete, who heads the committee monitoring the project, said three infrastructure majors had bid for it. While Reliance Infrastructure lost in the technical evaluation, Afcons and L&T had quoted Rs 4,779 crore and Rs 3,826 crore respectively for the first stage.”We had estimated the first stage to cost Rs 2,300 crore but the lowest bid is at a much higher cost of Rs 3,826 crore. Hence, we have asked PWD officials and our consultants to examine the reasons for this discrepancy. If L&T agrees to negotiate, the project can be awarded to them,” said Mete.Mete said a decision about the project was likely to be taken in around 10 days. If the project is awarded to the lowest bidder, work is expected to start after the monsoon season.The Shivaji Maharaj statue, which has a 36-month completion period, will come up on a 15.96 hectare rocky basalt outcrop in the Arabian Sea 1.2 km south west of Raj Bhawan. The state government wants the statue to be the tallest in the world by rising it to a staggering 210 meters against the proposed 192 meters. This may push up the costs from the present estimate of Rs 3,700 crore for the two phases.It will have landscaped gardens, two jetties, library, helipad, medical amenities, amphitheatre and a museum.

PM to unveil roadmap for Narmada’s revival tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tomorrow unveil a roadmap for steps to be taken for the conservation of the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh. The event at Amarkantak, the place in Anooppur district where the river originates, will mark the conclusion of ‘Namami Devi Narmade Sewa Yatra’. The Narmada river conservation awareness campaign was launched in December last year. “I am delighted to join the programme to mark the conclusion of the Narmada Seva Yatra in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh, tomorrow afternoon. “Narmada Seva Yatra is an excellent mass movement to protect the Narmada & conveys a larger message of saving the environment as well,” Modi said in a series of tweets. He said he will launch the ‘Narmada Seva Mission’ which will have a major impact on Madhya Pradesh s ecology. “The prime minister will release a roadmap for the conservation of Narmada, the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh, at Amarkantak,” Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said today. “The roadmap has been prepared after wide-ranging consultations with various stakeholders, including environmentalists, river conservation experts and people directly associated with the Narmada,” he said. The yatra, which started on December 11, 2016 from Amarkantak, will conclude tomorrow after covering a distance of 3,344 km and passing through over 1,100 villages and towns. A number of prominent personalties, including Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, BJP president Amit Shah, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Uma Bharti, Anil Madhav Dave, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and well-known water conservationist Rajendra Singh, among others, took part in the yatra in its different stages. Modi will arrive at Amarkantak, around 450 km from Bhopal, in the afternoon. He will also take part in ‘Narmada Pujan’ and address a gathering, an official associated with the yatra said. Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the prime minister’s visit, he said. Narmada flows 1,312 km before draining through the Gulf of Khambhat into the Arabian Sea. Narmada, also known as Rewa, is one of only three major rivers in the country that flows from east to west. The other two are Tapti and Mahi.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Stop unauthorised broadcast of Pak, Saudi channels: Centre to

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre today asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to take immediate steps to stop the unauthorised broadcast of Pakistani and Saudi Arabian channels in the state. Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu spoke with the state chief secretary and also sought a compliance report at the earliest, official sources said here. He expressed concern over reports that these channels are being broadcast in Jammu and Kashmir without permission. Earlier in the day, Naidu’s deputy in the ministry, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, had said the local administration in the state has right to confiscate the equipment of cable operators allegedly airing unauthorised channels. Noting that the government has sent an advisory to the state, Rathore said such communications are regularly sent by the Centre on unauthorised channels. “We also monitor whenever such news comes up. It is our work to ask for report about such incidents. The action is being taken,” he said. Rathore said it is the responsibility of the local administration to monitor unauthorised channels in their area and they have the right to take action against them. “In Kashmir, the district collector or the authorised government official can confiscate the equipment and take action against cable operators,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here. The minister was responding to reports that over 50 Saudi and Pakistani channels besides Zakir Naik’s banned Peace TV and others indulging in “anti-India” propaganda were allegedly running without necessary clearances via private cable networks in Kashmir.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Eight Karnataka students drown in sea off Maha coast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eight students of an engineering college from Karnataka, out on a picnic, drowned in the Arabian sea off the Vayri coast in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district today, the police said. The students from Maratha Engineering College in Belgaum had gone to swim in the sea, it said. The deceased, five boys and three girls, were part of a group of 47 students. Around 30 of them had gone to the sea for swimming, the police said adding three students were rescued from the sea and 19 others swam to safety. “Three students have been rescued and are under medical observation,” police said. The incident occurred around the noon at Vayri, a coastal hamlet near Malvan town in the Konkan region of the state. “It was the time of high tide and some students had ventured into the deep water. After some of them began drowning, some others in the group rushed to save them, but it was late,” police said. Eight bodies, including those of three girls, were recovered. “Three students were brought to shore by the police in an unconscious state. Two of them are admitted in a Malvan hospital and one girl, who is in a serious condition, is being treated at the state-run hospital in Oros,” Amogh Goankar, Superintendent of Police, Sindhudurg, told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC seeks Maha govt stand on plea against Shivaji memorial

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court today sought the the Maharashtra government’s stand on a plea against the proposed Rs 3,600 crore Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea. A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarani asked the government to file an affidavit within three weeks detailing its stand on the plea against the government’s plan to build a 192-metre high statue of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea. “The affidavit should respond to every contention raised in the petition, including the funds,” the bench said. The plea filed by one Mohan Binde, a charted accountant has challenged the construction of the memorial contending that government’s decision to spend Rs 3,600 crore on the project is “illogical and uncalled for.” Binde’s lawyer Ketan Parekh argued before the bench that the government should spend money towards other important issues first. The petition pleaded to the court to “scrap, cancel, set aside and quash the project.” “The proposed budget for the said project is about Rs 3,600 crore. Merely for inaugurating the opening ceremony, the state government spent Rs 77 crore,” the petition said. “All this expenditure at a time when the government is itself facing financial crunch is unnecessary. Last year the government declared drought in over 25,000 villages,” it said adding that the government should first focus on addressing these issues. “The public at large is not concerned with building of such memorials. The public expects the state to provide a better standard of living and better public amenities, which is the priority of the day,” the petition said. The plea further said if the political parties want to create a memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, they should first take steps towards maintaining the forts built by the Maratha warrior king and his descendants across the state. “Many of these forts are in a dilapidated condition and the government has not taken any measures to renovate them,” the plea alleged.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Were make-shift cabins for Shivaji memorial built legally: HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government if it had built legally the temporary cabins at the Mumbai Badhwar park to use them as office for the proposed Shivaji Memorial statue in the Arabian Sea. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni asked this from the government while hearing a plea by an NGO, the ‘Friends of Society,’ accusing the government of having built the cabins illegally in an area within Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). The petition, filed last year, said around 1,000 square meter area where the cabins have been set up, was used by the local fishermen to park their boats during monsoon. The court asked the government to file an affidavit within two weeks explaining if the permission from the concerned authority, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) was required for building those cabin and if yes, was it taken. “If the permission is required but not taken, you (government) will have to demolish the structures,” the court said. According to the petition, the cabins are being used by officials for the state government’s ambitious project to construct a 192-meter high statue of Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Maiden anti-ship missile launch by Kalvari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The navy successfully test-fired an anti-ship missile for the first time from an indigenously built Kalvari, the first of India’s six Scorpene-class submarines on Thursday during a trial in the Arabian Sea.Built under Project 75, all the six diesel-electric attack submarines will be equipped with the anti-ship missile, which has a proven record in combat, the Defence Ministry said, noting these missiles will provide the vessels the ability to neutralise surface threats at extended ranges.”The missile successfully hit a surface target at an extended range during the trial firing,” the ministry said.”This missile launch is a significant milestone, not only for the Kalvari which is the first in a series of Scorpene class submarines being built in India, but also in enhancing the Indian Navy’s sub-surface warfare capability,” the ministry said.The submarines, designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS, are being built by Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai.In a bid to enhance India’s military capability a top army officer proposed that combat aviation should be made an integral part of mechanised forces in dealing with external threats.Meanwhile Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar warned against threats of chemical and biological warfare. He stressed on the need to be well-prepared to combat such threats in the wake of changing security concerns.Referring to reports of chemical weapons usage in recent terror attacks in Afghanistan, he said India should have an effective system in place to prevent potential consequences against use of chemical or biological weapons.”The reports which are coming from the southern and northern parts of Afghanistan… I have seen photographs of local population suffering from blisters. At this moment, I don’t have confirmation on this, but the photos were quite disturbing… We should be prepared for any kind of warfare,” he said during an event organised by the DRDO.Echoing Parrikar’s concerns, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said the Armed Forces must be prepared for all kinds of threat.

Waterways transportation to begin around Narmada in MP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said that waterways transportation would be started around river Narmada in the state. “The waterways transportation will be started in a circumference of 100 km in Narmada river as about 30 per cent of state’s population lives on the banks of this river,” Chouhan said at ‘Jan Samvad’ (dialogue with public) programme in Mohipura vilalge of Barwani district yesterday during the ongoing ‘Namami Devi Narmade-Seva Yatra’. However, he didn’t disclose details of the waterways. Chouhan said that river Narmada, which covers 1,000 km distance after originating from Amarkantak till its culmination in Arabian Sea, is the heartline of the country. “Narmada is life stream of culture. Many civilizations and cultures originated on the banks of the river,” he said. “Around 30 per cent population of Madhya Pradesh resides on the banks of this river. It is the responsibility of all that we protect mother Narmada and make it free from pollution by its conservation for next generation,” he said. ‘Namami Devi Narmade – Sewa Yatra’ was started on December 11 last year from Amarkantak, the place of Narmada’s origin. It will cover 1,831 km on the southern bank comprising 548 villages/towns and 1,513 km on northern bank comprising of 556 village/towns, thus covering 3,344 km in 144 days. The ‘yatra’ is claimed to be the world’s biggest river conservation campaign.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pak concerned over India’s expansionist maritime security strategy in Indian Ocean: Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s top diplomat Sartaj Aziz alleged that India’s evolving “expansionist” maritime security strategy and un-demarked border of Sir Creek pose “threat” to the security of the Indian Ocean.”The un-demarcated borders in Sir Creek have the potential to cast a shadow on maritime security. India’s evolving expansionist maritime security strategy is a cause for concern for peace in Indian Ocean,” said Aziz, the PM’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs.He made the remarks at a conference on ‘Strategic outlook in Indian Ocean Region 2030 and Beyond Evolving Challenges and Strategies’ organised by the Pakistan Navy as part of a multi-nation five-day naval exercise in the Arabian Sea. “Nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean has also led to further instability in the region,” he added.He said that with 95% of Pakistan’s trade taking place through sea, Pakistan was heavily dependent on a tension-free Indian Ocean. Aziz said Pakistan is third largest Indian Ocean littoral country and as a matter of policy it continues to pursue the goals of realising the economic potential of the region. “We are aware of our national interests and every effort would be made to strengthen our capacity to ensure that we remain ready to meet the emerging maritime security challenges. For us, to remain oblivious of the developments taking place in the Indian Ocean Region is not an option. These developments have a direct impact on our security and prosperity,” he said. Aziz said that the several Indian Ocean Region contains several conflict zones and the region’s maritime security challenges have grown and are affected by key variables such as militarisation, the involvement of major and extra-regional powers, and non-traditional security threats. “On the other hand, the militarisation of the Indian Ocean region, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increased missile capabilities and power projection by foreign militaries are a threat to peace in the Indian Ocean Region. And this trend is likely to intensify in the coming years,” he said.”And to add to this complex scenario, today, the Indian Ocean faces many non-traditional security challenges and threats including piracy, illegal fishing, human trafficking, drug smuggling, trafficking of weapons, maritime pollution and climate change,” he added.Aziz said Pakistan has a strategic stake in peaceful navigation and security of Indian Ocean region.”Our interests emanate from our coastline that is over 1000 kilometres long, an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of around 300,000 square kilometres, the Karachi port and the newly built deep sea port of Gwadar,” he said.He said that due to presence of several powers in the Indian Ocean, the changing power balance and relentless pursuit of national interest prompted analysts to suggest that many global struggles will play out here in the 21st century.

Navy’s IL 38 SD aircraft carries out anti-ship missile firing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Navy’s upgraded IL 38 long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft today carried out successful anti-ship missile firing in the Arabian Sea. The firing was conducted as part of the ongoing annual Theater level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX-17), on the Western seaboard, Navy officials said. The llyushin 38 Sea Dragon (IL 38 SD) is a long range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft of Indian Navy. “IL 38 SD aircraft has undertaken this maiden firing post modification and midlife upgrade, thereby demonstrating its highly potent Anti Ship Missile (AShM) attack capability. “The development ratifies Indian Navy’s ability to ensure long range sea denial around Indian Sub continent,” the officials said. IL 38 SD aircraft are based at Goa and is placed under the Western Naval Command. Indian Navy is currently carrying out a mega exercise involving large number of strategic assets including Brahmos missiles Su-30 and Jaguar fighters and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The TROPEX is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard. The month-long exercise, which began on January 24, involved gunnery shoots, surface-to-air missile engagements, Brahmos firing and operations of the combined fleet in a complex multi threat environment including sub surface and air threats. The area of operations for TROPEX spans across the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea and North Central Indian Ocean and serves as an opportunity to validate the Indian Navy’s Concepts of Operation.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Navy carries out major exercise to check ops preparedness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the backdrop of the current security scenario, Indian Navy has carried out a mega exercise involving large number of strategic assets including Brahmos missiles Su-30 and Jaguar fighters and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The Theatre level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX) is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard. Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Sunil Lanba embarked ships of the Indian Fleet (both Western and Eastern) over the last two days to review the ongoing exercise. He was accompanied by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, the Ministry of Defence said. The month-long exercise, which began on January 24, involved gunnery shoots, surface-to-air missile engagements, Brahmos firing and operations of the combined fleet in a complex multi threat environment including sub surface and air threats. The area of operations for TROPEX spans across the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea and North Central Indian Ocean and serves as an opportunity to validate the Indian Navy’s Concepts of Operation. The exercise encompassed all dimensions of maritime warfare and is witnessing participation of over 60 ships, five submarines and more than 70 naval aircraft. It also includes participation of a large number of assets from the Indian Air Force, such as Su-30 and Jaguar fighters, AWACS, C 130J Hercules and in-flight refuelling aircraft among others. “The CNS witnessed a host of exercises namely Gunnery shoots, Surface to Air missile engagements, Brahmos firing and operations of the combined Fleet in a complex multi threat environment including sub surface and air threats “The high-point of the exercise was Large Force Engagement (LFE) by the Fleet units against threat simulated by air element from Indian Air Force comprising AWACS, SU 30s, Jaguars and IL 78,” the Ministry said in a statement. It said these threats emanated from different directions and were neutralised by using Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile capabilities of MiG 29Ks, the integral air arm of the Indian Navy, operating from INS Vikramaditya in coordination with other Fleet units. MORE(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Singapore court sentences Saudi diplomat for molestation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Singapore court today sentenced a Saudi Arabian diplomat to 26 months and one week in jail and four strokes of cane for twice molesting a young hotel intern and using criminal force on her. Bander Yahya A Alzahran, a father of three, was on a holiday here with his family when the offences were committed at a hotel on the Sentosa resort island in August last year. The 39-year-old, who is attached to the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Beijing, is appealing against his conviction and sentence, The Straits Times reported. Alzahran was found guilty on Wednesday after an eight-day trial of kissing the 20-year-old on her neck and hugging her while wrongfully restraining her inside the hotel room. He was also found guilty of kissing the victim’s neck a second time, touching her improperly and forcing her to touch him in return. District Judge Lee Poh Choo had found him “unusually convincing”. She rejected the defence assertion that the whole incident was a set-up and that the victim conspired with other staff to level false allegations against Alzahrani to extort money from him. The victim had been reluctant to divulge anything as she was “confused” and did not know what to do. She had said to a colleague, who had noticed the victim’s distress and unusual behaviour, that the guest had told her this was a “top secret” between them. Cajoled for hours by her colleagues, the victim eventually told and demonstrated her version of events to various persons, including the front office manager and a security executive, at different times that day. The maximum penalty for aggravated molestation is between two and 10 years in addition to caning on each charge. For using criminal force, the maximum penalty is three months’ jail and a Singapore dollar 1,500 fine.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

(Reopen Bom9)

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Summary of observations recorded at 0830 hrs: The western distrubance as a trough in westerlies now runs roughly along Long.76 E to the north of Lat.32 N at 3.1 kms a.s.l. An induced cyclonic circulation extending upto 0.9 km a.s.l. lies over Rajasthan and neighbourhood. Above two systems are likely to move east-northeastwards. The cyclonic circulation extending upto 1.5 kms a.s.l. over Bangla Desh and neighbourhood now lies over south Assam and neighbourhood. The trough of low at mean sea level from southeast Arabian Sea to east central Arabian Sea off Konkan coast has become feeble and moved away westwards. However, the cyclonic circulation aloft now lies over Comorin area and adjoining south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala and extends upto 0.9 km a. s. l. Night temperatures were appreciably below normal in some parts of Odisha and of east Madhya Pradesh and were below normal in some parts of Assam and Meghalaya, Gangetic West Bengal, Bihar, west Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat State, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh and of Telangana. They were appreciably above normal in some parts of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and of west Rajasthan and in remaining parts of west Madhya Pradesh and were above normal in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, east Rajasthan, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu, coastal and south interior Karnataka and of Kerala. They were normal over the rest of the country. The lowest minimum temperature recorded over the plains was 6.9 C at Ganganagar (west Rajasthan ). Dense fog (visibility . 200m) occurred at isolated places over West Bengal and Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, Punjab and west Rajasthan and shallow to moderate fog (visibility . 500m) occurred at isolated places over Assam and Meghalaya, Odisha, Bihar, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi and Punjab in the morning hours.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Weather proves to be biggest enemy for the troops on LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forget terror, weather is proving to be the worst enemy for the Army troops on counter-infiltration operations at the high-altitude areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kashmir valley.As the snow breaks new record in the Valley, the Army posts and camps in the high-altitude areas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the killer avalanches.In the last four days alone, Army lost 15 soldiers in the avalanches in Gurez and Sonamarg areas in north and central Kashmir.More than 14 soldiers were rescued from the snow at two places in the last 72 hours—latest being the five of an Army patrol who got trapped when the snow track caved in at Macchil sector of the LoC in Kupwara district on Saturday.”All the five have been rescued,” said Shamsheer Hussain, Senior Superintendent of Police, Kupwara.Indian Army has posts located at an altitude of 14,500 feet and more which witnesses 12 feet and more snow during winter. Troops are manning the posts and patrolling the areas despite the snow and freezing temperature to prevent infiltration from the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.For the last 18 years, the Army is not relocating troops from the high altitude and avalanche-prone areas given the 1999 experience when Pakistan troops, in the guise of jihadi intruders, occupied the strategic locations in Kargil sector.”Earlier, the Army was vacating some of these posts in winter. But not after the 1999 Kargil war,” said an officer. The reason why troops suffered heavily in snow avalanches in the last 18 years. In February 2012, at least 16 soldiers were buried alive and six others injured when massive avalanches hit the sensitive army installations in Gurez and Sonamarg areas of north and central Kashmir.Six soldiers were buried alive when a massive snow avalanche hit Siachen Glacier in Ladakh division of Jammu and Kashmir in December 2012 .A major tragedy struck the Army troopers at prestigious High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) at Khilanmarg-Gulmarg in February 2010 after a snow avalanche hit the trainees’ camp leaving 17 soldiers including an officer dead and 17 injured.Eleven Indian army soldiers including a junior commissioned officer (JCO) were swept away by a massive avalanche at an altitude of 19,600 feet in world’s highest battlefield on February 3 last year.This year there has been three back to back avalanches given the fact that the snow has broken decades-old record in certain areas of Kashmir in January. Srinagar broke the 11-year-old record in snowfall in January. “Pahalgam also broke previous record of snowfall this January,” said Sonam Lotus, Director of Meteorological Centre, Kashmir.Figures released by Meteorological Centre, Kashmir revealed that Srinagar recorded 143mm snow in January. It has broken the previous record of 134.6 mm in 2009. Kokarnag recorded 265.4 mm snowfall in January this year. Last highest snowfall was recorded 194.7 mm.”We had prolonged three months of dry spell. It has been followed by snowfall. Atmospheric process is very dynamic and complex. There could be many reasons. Deep low pressure system was developed over Jammu and Kashmir. There is continuous moisture incursion from the Arabian sea,” said Lotus.

Shivaji memorial row | Modi, Fadnavis insulted bhumiputra; won’t vote for BJP candidates in elections: Fishermen’s Association

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 29 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for Rs 3,600 crore Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian sea, the Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti (AMMKS) said the fishermen community will not vote for Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in the upcoming Mumbai and other corporation elections.Elections to 10 municipal corporations, including the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), 25 zilla parishads and 283 panchayat samitis are scheduled to take place on February 21.”We (fishing community) have decided to not vote for the BJP candidates in the upcoming municipal corporation elections. PM Modi and CM Devendra Fadnavis have insulted bhumiputra. Around Rs 25 crore were spent only on Bhumipujan. We will not let the memorial built in the sea. We will vote only for OBC candidates,” AMMKS President, Damodar Tandel told dnaindia.com.
ALSO READ CM Devendra Fadnavis firm on completing memorialTandel also added that to take their issue up to a greater level, they would be forming a political party. “The OBC community has come together and we will launch our party – BOSS (Bahujan OBC Sangarsh Sena) on January 26,” he said.Stating that fishermen were not against building the memorial, Tandel said the area chosen was the main spot where breeding took place as there was no other place left in the area.
ALSO READ Double standard over Dalit icons: Mayawati slams BJP over Rs 3600 crore Shivaji statue “Several fish prefer this habitat (rocky area) and breed here. Nearly 40 types of crabs, shell fish, marine animals exist in the same area, if that area is used to build memorial, all these species will be lost forever. Mangroves provide breeding and feeding grounds for fish, but there are no mangroves left too.”Tandel also showed pictures taken by Pradip Patade, a marine conservationist and one of the petitioners, to prove his point. These pictures were taken about three-four years ago. The 192-metre tall Shivaji statue has been planned around 1.5 km from Raj Bhavan and 3.5 km into the Arabian Sea.(Different types of crabs that are found in the area)Dr Rishikesh Dalvi, a marine biologist and assistant professor, department of zoology, Maharshi Dayanand College said, “From what I understand, the coastline is already polluted. We have lost so many good areas for marine life. There was huge bio-diversity, which has been reported along Mumbai coast including, Dadar, Bandra coast. The memorial may generate revenue through tourism, but it will also have adversity on fisheries and fishermen living in Badhwar park.” “Young fish come to shallow water, generally near mangrove roots where they can hide. It will drastically affect fishing community. During monsoon, even tourists may not be able to go to the memorial. Once the fishing season starts August onwards, fishermen will lay the net, but if a ferry goes over it, it will break and cause losses,” Dalvi added.Maintaining his stand that the memorial should come up at a Band Stand, he adds, “We will be pushing for all memorials, including Shivaji’s, to be built at Mumbai Race Course.Further raising the issue of budget allocation, Tandel said, the estimated cost for the memorial had gone up to Rs 3,600 crore but where will the government bring the money from? Damodar Tandel President, AMMKS In reality, the state has made a budgetary provision of only Rs 170 crore. The estimated cost is increasing with every passing year. In another few years, it may go up to Rs 10,000 crore. Where will the government bring the money from?”Tourism & FishermenWhen asked about government’s claim to create jobs around the memorial and providing loans to the fishermen to buy boats that will be used by the tourists, Tandel said, “There are 1500 large boats and 450 small boats along the stretch and survival of over 25,000 people living in the surrounding depends on it. Will all the 450 boats be used to ferry tourists? It will require only five or ten boats, but what about remaining boats? What will we do with them.”How can we call it No objection Certificate (NoC)?Showing various letters sent by the former Police Commissioner, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Navy in 2015, seeking for conditions to be fulfilled before taking the project forward, Tandel asked could the NOC be considered when the issues were not deliberated.In 2015, the then Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria had written to the Chief Engineer of the state PWD department regarding a NoC, and had stated that the area was vulnerable for terror activities. Maria had stated that the NoC was being given on the condition that the issues mentioned in the letter would be discussed and the committee of various organisations (Traffic, Security, disaster management, coastguard, Fire brigade, government hospitals) would be constituted and processes would start only after taking their views.

Except eastern India, Skymet predicts rain and snow in other parts this month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Barring eastern India, most parts of the country will witness either rain or snow this month due to two western disturbances and a trough, private weather forecasting agency Skymet has said. Back to back western disturbances will continue to effect Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand throughout January. “Therefore, rain and snow will also continue over western Himalayas. Models are indicating that few more western disturbances will approach hilly states in the month of February as well,” Skymet CEO Jatin Singh said. Plains of northwest India will also receive good rain from January 24 onward. But isolated rain cannot be ruled out over Rajasthan on January 21 and 22. An induce cyclonic circulation is expected to form over central Pakistan and adjoining Rajasthan by January 24. This weather system will receive moisture from the Bay of Bengal as well as the Arabian Sea. Simultaneously a trough is expected to form from Haryana to Gujarat. “Punjab, Haryana, West UP, Delhi, North Rajasthan and northern parts of Madhya Pradesh will receive light to moderate rain/thundershowers from January 24 to 27,” Pahlawat said. A trough is expected to form over southwest Bay of Bengal off Tamil Nadu coast around January 20 and easterly wave will also become prominent. This will give rain over Tamil Nadu from January 21.Intermittent rain will continue till January 27 over many parts of TN, south interior Karnataka and Kerala. Light rain is possible at a few places over Maharashtra on January 26-27 due to the interaction of weather system of north and south. “So we can say that last 10 days of January are going to be the wettest for most parts of the country, except east India,” Singh added.

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